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Labor wants review of Coalition's infrastructure spending “farce …

A month after national and state audits slammed the cancelled East-West tollroad project, Federal Labor has asked the Australian National Office of Audit to review the Turnbull Government s entire infrastructure program. Citing a 20% decline in infrastructure investment and the collapse of two of its major road projects, Opposition transport and infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese has demanded greater scrutiny into the Coalition s spending and planning process. Albanese has been especially critical of infrastructure minister Warren Truss, for taking $18 million in infrastructure funding to squander on advertisements about his own performance .

Since taking office, the Coalition has performed abysmally on nation building, Albanese said late last week.

The government has cut funding for public transport projects and re-allocated it to new toll road projects which it did not subject to cost-benefit analysis to determine whether they represented value for money.

Albanese says the recent criticism from the Audit Office of the East-West Link, as well as the blocking of a portion of the Perth Freight Link after an environmental claim succeeded in WA Supreme Court, were both causes for concern.

The budget for the Government s other big-ticket project Sydney s Westconnex toll road has blown out from $10 billion to $16.8 billion, he added.

News that Mr Truss is planning further cuts to fund an advertising campaign to back his absurd claim that he has actually lifted investment signals it is time for a systematic look at what is going wrong with the Government s infrastructure program.

In particular, the circumstances surrounding the government s funding for the Perth Freight Link, which the WA Supreme Court rejected last month on environmental grounds, deserve scrutiny.

When the Commonwealth announced the Perth Freight Link in the 2014 Budget, the WA State Government told a parliamentary budget estimates committee hearing it knew little about the project an indication that it was also the subject of inadequate planning.

Albanese labelled Truss s planned advertising campaign truly Orwellian .

Mr Truss is cutting actual spending to fund spin when he should be spending the money for the purpose for which it was allocated actually building something, the Labor minister said.

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